Maximum Wellness, Episode 37: Glycine and Tryptophan may reduce risk of gout

According to, “gout is a common and complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone. It’s characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness and tenderness in the joints—often the joint at the base of the big toe. An attack of gout can occur suddenly, often waking you up in the middle of the night, with the sensation that your big toe is on fire. The affected joint is hot, swollen, and so tender that even the weight of the sheet on it may seem intolerable.”

Research—”Combined Supplementation with Glycine and Tryptophan Reduces Purine Induced Serum Uric Acid Elevation by Accelerating Urinary Uric Acid Excretion”—which appeared in the November 2019, online journal Nutrients, states that, “the progression of gout is suggested to result from an imbalance between uric acid synthesis and excretion. The most important factor considered to increase the risk of gout is hyperuricemia with persistently high serum uric acid levels. In particular, hyperuricemia has been suggested to be caused primarily by weakened kidney excretion of uric acid.”

Investigators from Japan used a randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover clinical trial designed to examine whether combined supplementation with glycine and tryptophan (amino acids) suppressed the elevation in serum uric acid levels—caused by purine (like liver and other organ meats, anchovies, chocolate) ingestion, and accelerated urinary uric acid excretion in subjects with lower urate excretion.

Glycine, a non-essential amino acid, enhances the urinary excretion of uric acid in healthy individuals, in addition to those people with gout in prior studies. Tryptophan’s (an essential amino acid) effect on lowering uric acid levels is somewhat suspect at this point, which was why the Japanese investigators sought to confirm whether or not the combined effect of both amino acids would synergistically lower uric acid.

The study group included healthy Japanese males aged 20—64 years, with lower urinary uric acid excretion, and no prior history of liver, renal, heart, or severe disease, drug or food allergy, or routine use of drug or dietary supplements for hyperuricemia.”

According to the researchers, “all volunteers ingested four test drinks (A; placebo, B; tryptophan, C; glycine, or D; glycine + tryptophan) in the crossover design,” with a small amount of lemon flavor and critic acid added to achieve a standardized taste.

The volunteers maintained their daily eating and drinking schedule—refraining from eating and drinking alcohol, for at minimum, 10 hours before the experiment. After an overnight fast, 200 milliliters were consumed, followed by voiding urine. Blood was collected 1 and 2 hours after the experimental drink was consumed.

The study concluded that, “the combined supplementation with glycine and tryptophan significantly reduced the elevation in serum uric acid levels induced by purine ingestion via the acceleration of uric acid excretion and urate clearance in healthy males with lower urate excretion.”

It was also determined that, “tryptophan alone did not induce serum uric acid elevation or urinary excretion of uric acid, but it might have enhanced the action of glycine by regulating the metabolism of glycine to creatinine.”

Before you consider treating yourself, if applicable, you must first consult with your personal physician for guidance.

News & Research

More in this Series

on sale this week

Creatine at Amazing Prices

Starting at


Shopping cart close